Birth Trauma Is More Common Than You Think
Giving birth is usually a joyful, life-changing experience for the entire family. Sadly, complications during birth are quite common and can cause the newly born infant to have traumatic birth-related injuries. In the United States, one out of 33 babies will be born with birth defects. Birth defects are also the leading cause of death in infants, accounting for 20% of all infant deaths each year. Birth trauma can be permanent and may leave a family with costly medical bills, wondering what to do next.
What Causes Birth Trauma?
Birth trauma can be defined as an impairment of the infant’s body function or structure due to an adverse event that occurred at birth. Essentially, something happened during labor and delivery that caused a significant birth-related injury to the infant that may be permanent. These injuries are often caused by medical malpractice, including various mechanical forces used during childbirth that may harm the infant.
Types of Birth Trauma
The medical treatment and expected recovery of infants with birth trauma varies widely depending on the type and severity of the birth injury. The most common areas for birth-related injuries include the head, neck, and shoulders. Some less common birth trauma locations include the face, abdomen, and arms/legs.
Head injuries caused by birth trauma may include an infant’s scalp swelling, their skull being fractured, hemorrhaging (bleeding) in the brain, and/or nerve damage. Nerve damage, broken bones, external bruising, and internal hemorrhaging can also happen to the infant’s body. Some of these injuries may be caused by forceps or vacuums being used during birth, or mistakes being made during a surgical delivery. These birth-related injuries can be life-altering for the infant.
Recognizing Birth Trauma
Recognizing birth injuries in a newborn can be difficult since the baby may not show many outward signs or symptoms. Some cases of birth trauma are life-threatening and must be recognized immediately for treatment to happen in time to save the infant’s life. Other cases of birth injuries may be moderate but will prevent the baby from having a normal childhood and may require lifelong physical therapy. A detailed physical exam of the newborn immediately after birth is essential to recognizing anything that may have gone wrong.
Sometimes birth trauma is not recognized until later on in the infant’s life when the baby or child is not meeting developmental benchmarks or their cognitive abilities have slowed. In these cases, parents should communicate with their doctors if their child seems to be falling behind their peers.
Philadelphia Birth Injury Attorneys
If a trusted medical professional made a mistake during childbirth, newborns can suffer serious birth trauma that can change their life forever. A baby born with birth injuries may have cognitive impairments, learning disabilities, or may even be paralyzed. When handled correctly, the compensation for your child’s injuries should allow you to care for them for life. If you or someone you know has dealt with birth trauma, contact the experienced trial attorneys of Lopez McHugh today.